This is a blog post we have wanted to do a substantial update to for a while. We have spent all summer at markets and events serving large batches of cold brew tea and experimenting behind the scenes with different styles and brew parameters. We feel like we are now in a good place to revise the content of this blog post.
In much of the literature on cold infusing tea, claims are made that the ratio of the tea leaf should be doubled compared to the preparation of a hot brewed tea. For example, if we use 2-3g of leaf to 150ml to make a cup of hot tea we should use 4-6g of leaf in making 150ml of cold brew tea. After many experiments, we can confidently say that this recommendation does not appear to yield the best results. Read on to hear our thoughts on the topic.
The last couple of months here in Queensland have been characterised by hot humid days. Whilst I am quite content to enjoy hot tea, there are days when I am looking for an iced cold beverage that is flavourful but does not contain sugar, flavourings or other hidden ingredients. Pure leaf tea lends itself perfectly to cold infusion and has so much versatility that you could never be bored.
Whilst the preparation to make cold infused tea is straight-forward if you can be slightly organised to place the cold brew tea in the fridge the night before you wish to serve it, we guarantee that this will create the perfect brew.
We are often asked whether hot brewed tea can also be enjoyed cooled if placed in the refrigerator. In short, the answer is yes. But we find the cold infusion method yields a naturally sweeter beverage leaving behind the bitterness sometimes associated with hot brewed tea and is our preferred method.
Recipe for Cold Brewed Tea (500ml)
1. Add 3 teaspoons (6g) of pure leaf tea to 500ml water.
These brewing parameters are a good place to start. Our experiments have shown us that some teas particularly white and green teas can actually be brewed using half of the amount needed to make hot tea!
Many pure leaf teas are suitable for cold brewing as the flavour and aromas are brought out nicely using this method of brewing. We particularly enjoy experimenting with oolong tea as they also stand up to subsequent cold brewing the best. Cold brewing is also a good way to use up older pure leaf teas that may not be at their best.
To inspire you, here are 3 particular teas we enjoy cold brewing at home.
Bai Mu Dan “White Peony” - a refreshing and pure cold brew. The sweetness in the tea is more detectable when served iced
Dong Ding - this creates an infusion that has lovely floral notes and a wonderful creaminess in the mouth. It is a refreshing and semi-sweet
Taitung Oolong - a sweet toast and cacao flavour makes a great choice for a cold brew if looking for something a little more richer of an afternoon.
2. Place in the refrigerator overnight (or approximately 8 hours).
3. Use a strainer to remove the loose-leaf tea leaves and serve over ice. Enjoy!
4. Re-use your tea leaves. Fine leaf teas can be re-steeped so consider topping up the water and returning it to your refrigerator for another brew. Brewing beyond this really comes down to personal taste and you may find some leaves (e.g., oolong tea) can be brewed more than others.
Even in times when your jug may get lost in the recesses of the refrigerator (speaking from experience) for more than 24 hours you will find that your cold brew tea is full of flavour and fairly forgiving when it comes to bitterness.
For other cold tea drink recipes, take a look at my blog post on Festive Iced Tea.
* Updated from our March 2016 post to include new brewing parameters, a note about using hot brewed tea and also re-using your tea leaves.